Sunday, August 24, 2008

Swirling color

I'm following my rather monochromatic (or at least mono-tonal!) Mermaid's song necklace with a very colorful and swirling embroidery piece.

Taking my cue from a lovely focal bead by Melissa Vess of Inner Realm Creations, I have been embroidering a free form pendant with swirls of blue, green, lavender and red on a field of ivory and gold.

I'm thinking about adding gold chain maille, or maybe some needle lace, or maybe both. I may add some smaller motifs with gemstones, or perhaps I'll raid my stash of vintage glass cabs. So many possibilities.

What fun!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I've been so bad!

More eye candy! This time my beady dollars went to Gail at Beadles, another one of my very favorite hot glass artists. So, with no further ado, here are my new beauties:

Friday, August 22, 2008


Yup, my house was full of them just a few minutes ago. They've all gone off the park now; the silence is deafening. But it's all good; they're nice kids and they're having fun. Loudly, to be sure: they're teenagers. Were my friends and I that loud? I expect we were. It didn't seem like it at the time, however.

Teenage girls sure do giggle a lot. And I'm loving it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Eye candy

Yup, I indulged myself today and bought some new beads from one of my favorite beadmakers, Melissa Vess of Inner Realm Creations.

If you've never been to Melissa's shop, you're in for a treat! Since I've already bought my favorites, I'll be nice and share the link to Inner Realm Creations on Etsy. Go ahead, indulge! You'll be glad you did.

Wanna see what you missed? Here are my new pretties:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My glass thing!

Remember last week when I took a glass blowing lesson? This is what I made!

I spent all this week wondering what it would look like when it came out of the kiln; I'd had so much fun moving the glass and just playing with it, that I came away with very little idea of what I'd actually made. I do that sometimes; I get involved in the process and completely forget to think about what it will be when I'm done.

I knew it would be yellow with the teeniest hint of blue; I knew that it bore a vague resemblance to an abalone shell. I also knew that I had not thought at all about the design or function of it while making it. That scared me a bit; I've been known to create some truly awful things when I'm under the influence of a new medium.

But I like it!!! And it is functional enough; it isn't quite as deep as I would like, but the curving edges serve nicely to balance a small arrangement of flowers. These are miniature roses and a few sprays of cotton lavender. So yes: I'd love to try it again, but next time, I'd like to pay a bit more attention to the final product. Not that I'm unhappy with this one; far from it. I'm delighted that it turned out as well as it did. But next time, there are a few more techniques I'd like to incorporate . . . .

Friday, August 15, 2008

Spiraling out of control

No, not really, but I just couldn't resist the title. I finally met a spiral I like! Let me rephrase that. I have fallen in love with a lot of different spirals in photos and other people's work; but every time I try them, they leave me cold. Not that they aren't pretty; they are. But I find that I simply do not know what to do with them once I've made them, and they're just not interesting enough to stand alone.

I've been playing with the spiral stitch; singles, doubles and triples. The single was a little too sparse for my taste, and the triple too full and bushy tailed. But the double is just right. I didn't like it in contrasting colors; that was too busy for me to work with. So I tried again in a pretty much monochromatic palette; my old favorites, black, blue-grey and a hint of pink.

It ended up looking more like a rope than a spiral, and I think it's going to anchor a sea-themed necklace. I've been wanting to do a beach piece and this color and texture combination is already saying ocean swells.

It's nice to have one I won't be taking out for a change.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Sometimes I make jewelry, and other times I play with beads. It's been a playing with beads week for me! Thank goodness for Fireline; I've been putting beads on and taking them off again all week. If I were using anything else, I'd have a trash can full of shredded thread. But I've learned a whole lot of ways not to do things; there are some stitches I really admire when I see others use them, but I'm coming to the reluctant conclusion that they're just not me.

Well, not yet, anyway.

But I'm enjoying trying them out, even if all I do at the end is rip them to bits. It's fun to experiment and try out new things, even if I don't know what to do with them yet. I'll figure it out eventually.

Or not.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Slowly, slowly

I'm working an Ndebele rope with 11°s; rounds and hexes in a spiraling pattern. Nope, not spiral Ndeble; I'm doing the straight stitch with a spiral of hexes running around it. There's nothing hard about it; the stitch is easy, and the pattern repeats and repeats without any changes. But I'm finding that it takes a good bit of concentration; when I go too quickly, or try to multitask by talking or watching TV, I mess up.

So it goes with life sometimes.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Blowing Glass

I had the most amazing experience today; my best friend gave me and my daughter glass blowing lessons for our birthdays. I made a thing; I'll post a picture of it when I get it back. Right now it is in the kiln, annealing, and after it comes out it will be sanded and polished.

Why do I call it a thing? Because it isn't quite a bowl, and it isn't quite a vase, and it's sort of like an abalone shell. Y'all know me; I like to go with the flow. So I let the glass go where it wanted to go, and then prodded it a bit. I ended up with a very asymmetrical vessel; not a surprise, really. All things considered, I generally prefer to make things asymmetrical.

My daughter made a beautiful round glass paperweight; perhaps she'll let me post a photo of it, too!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Time to explore

This afternoon we took an impromptu trip down to Morro Bay. We had a lovely time wandering about, peeking into shops and galleries, and ate seafood in a restaurant overlooking the bay. It was a delightful afternoon.

So now I'm thinking sea-themes; I picked up some pretty seashells in a shell shop, and I'm looking forward to using them. I restrained myself and only bought a few (I wanted to buy at least one of everything, but I resisted!); although it felt like vacation shopping, I reminded myself that we're only minutes away, and I can come back and buy more any time.

Now, on to the important part: what will I make with my seashells?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lavender blues

I discovered that I really, really missed having lavender in my garden. So I bought a three small plants today and put them in a pot. Nothing smells quite as good as a lavender plant; it is one of my favorite scents. There is something that is both energizing and relaxing about it.

Every year that we lived in New York, I'd taken cuttings from my original small plants and planted them out; nearly every flower bed was edged in lavender.

This garden is much smaller; it won't take me nearly as long here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Arte y Pico Award

Thank you, Beading Gem and Sweetwater Designs for awarding me the Arte y Pico award. That is so cool!

Here are my picks:

Christina, of Good Quill Hunting, is my seed bead hero. Her blog, and her websites, are must-sees. Her designs are fabulous, her work is meticulous, and she is a kind and generous person, too. She's the reason I picked up seed beads again after so many years!

Jo, of Gem Haven, never fails to inspire me; both with her work, and with her words. Although we have never met, I feel that I know her through her blogging, and I would dearly love to sit down with her over tea and cake. Visiting her blog is like visiting a very dear friend.

Sue, of Subeeds, is not only a very talented seed beader, but also a real contributer to the blogging community. Sue is an activist who cares passionately about fairness. That makes her tops in my book!

Karen, from Through Karen's Eyes, knits her life into her beautiful things; her blog not only features her knitted items, but also shares her wonderful philosophy of life. I am humbled and inspired by Karen's words, and her beautiful work never fails to delight me.

And for pure, unadulterated eye candy, Lisa, of Touch of Glass Designs, gets my nod. Her peaceful, nature-inspired beads, can calm the most tortured soul. Is there any better service to perform?

1. Pick 5 blogs which you think deserves this award for creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogging community, no matter which language.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3. Each award-winning has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4. Both the selected blog and the person who awarded the prize have to show the link of Arte y pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5. Show these rules.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I'm between projects. Sometimes I go from one project to the next; there are even times when I'm chomping at the bit, can't wait to finish one project because the next is crowding my brain; but not today.

Or yesterday, or the day before, actually.

It's not for lack of ideas; I've had lots of ideas, and I've even walked over to my bead box and looked inside, but I haven't quite gotten to the point where I pull anything out and thread that needle. Will I try a spiral stitch? Ndebele something? Another embroidery; maybe something dimensional, or wait: needlelace is calling me . . .

But I have not yet answered.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

All things work together for good

How easy it is to forget that! Recent events had left me feeling stressed and uncomfortable; instead of looking for the good in the situation, I was becoming fearful and worried. I was considering action that I was not comfortable taking; I was stuck on trying to make things turn out the way I thought they should.

Purely and simply, I was scared. I'd been sideswiped, hit blind-sided, and sucker punched by someone I trusted, by someone I thought was on my team. It hurt. I was reeling and wanted to make it stop. I didn't know what to do, but I wanted to do something, anything, to make the pain go away.

And then, suddenly, I was given the gift of knowing that all things work together for good; there is nothing I need do.

Not a single solitary thing.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Events of the last couple of months have rendered me useless as a blogger. Due to the drama of selling the house, packing up, driving cross country, unpacking and figuring out that I am living here; I confess that I have, at times, been utterly overwhelmed and have just not felt like chronicling the process. Some things are better forgotten.

So I hereby declare a do-over.

Last night we went to the county fair. It was great fun; we looked at all the exhibits and my very loyal family assured me that my jewelry would have won if we'd been here in time for me to enter. I love my cheering section! We ate all sorts of yummy things that were not strictly good for us, and listened to pitches for interesting appliances that we had no intention of purchasing.

But the best part? Knowing that we're finally here. No more showing the house to potential buyers, no more putting our lives on hold, waiting to do things after we move.

We're here and we went to the fair.